1. By The Numbers: What Does the Research Say about Home Education?
Distinguished academic researchers present their findings about the effects of home education on student achievement and socialization. The panel will present both quantitative statistical as well as qualitative research conducted using scientific methods.
Panelists: Brian Ray, Ph.D, National Home Education Research Institute; Dr. Tatiana Kovaleva, Ed.D, Professor of Pedagogics, Moscow State Pedagogical University, President of the Tutor Association of Russia
2. Should Home Education Be Considered a Human Right?
Considered the formation of modern human rights doctrine, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that parents have a fundamental human right to make decisions about their children's education. This is a "prior" right. Subsequent documents have also recognized the importance of guaranteeing parental direction of education for children. While the state has an interest in providing for free and universal education, it may not override parental direction. Roger Kiska and Michael Farris have both argued in supreme appellate courts on this theory and will share their experience and knowledge of international human rights law and legal theory and practice.
Panelists: Roger Kiska, J.D., International Litigation and Human Rights Attorney; Michael Farris, J.D., LL.M., Chairman, HSLDA
3. Home Education, Socialization, and the Spirit of Democracy
Every parent and every state wants children to become socially competent in the spirit of democracy as they mature to adults. However, the process by which this happens is little understood. In this workshop we will discover the socialization process through the lens of modern neurobiology and developmental science. In this way, we can understand the developmental workings of the acknowledged social success of home education.
Workshop speaker: Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D, The Neufeld Institute
4. Home Education: Success at University, Work and Life
Home education is a growing movement but many institutions in society outside of North America are unfamiliar with this educational approach. Are our home educated students able to attend the University? How can home educated students get a job? Are home educated students succeeding in life? A panel of researchers, home educators and home educated graduates will discuss these important questions.
5. Parental Choice and State Control: What Role Should the State Have in Education?
Educational freedom is important because parents have a recognized right to guide the development of their own children and choose a school in which they have full confidence. To deny that choice, or to make it impossibly difficult for parents of modest means, is unjust and unworthy of a free society. While society has a strong interest in ensuring that students are well prepared for their future roles and that they share an understanding of the virtues required by a free society, the state also has a responsibility to protect the role of parents in directing their children's education. Distinguished professors and politicians will guide this discussion which will be of particular value for policymakers confronting the issue of home education.
6. Home Education Around the World
Most nations have laws that require children to learn a basic curriculum either through school or in some other way. There are numerous legal and regulatory approaches that the state can take to ensure that children receive an education. In this workshop the different approaches will be contrasted and discussed to help policymakers and home educators in countries where home education is a new movement understand how to navigate this new educational paradigm. The panel will include home educators from around the world.
7. Public Policy Makers Forum
How should policymakers address home education? In this panel, national level policymakers will discuss their experiences and thoughts regarding how best to balance the role of the state and of parents regarding the education of their children. Opening remarks followed by an open discussion and question and answer for policymakers will provide a helpful dialogue for those grappling with this new form of education.
8. Home Education and Children with Special Needs
Children with special needs provide an extra challenge to any educator. However, experience shows that they often do well in the home education setting, providing this is the choice of the parents. In this workshop we will learn the reasons why children with special needs often function and learn better in the home setting.
Workshop speaker: Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D, The Neufeld Institute
9. Home Educators in Exile
Should citizens have to choose between their homeland and home education? Unfortunately, in some developed nations the prejudice towards home education is severe, causing conflict between families and governments. In a number of these cases, families have chosen to flee their country of origin to seek freedom for education. This panel of home educators in exile will share their experiences and provide an opportunity for participants to understand the pressures that home educating families face in some countries.
10. Working with Home Educators
Teachers, education officials, policy makers and others who interact with home educating parents will find this session helpful. Although many in public education may have difficulty at times understanding the mindset of home educators, this need not get in the way of working together when necessary. In this workshop, panelists will help education professionals and policy makers understand how to develop practical and productive working relationships with home educating families—this will make everyone happy!
Panelists: Jack Klenk, Former Director of the Office of Non-Public Education, US Department of Education; Dr. Tatiana Kovaleva, Ed.D, Professor of Pedagogics, Moscow State Pedagogical University, President of the Tutor Association of Russia; Pavel Parfentiev, Chairman of IPO "For Family Rights"
1. Freedom of Education – A Necessary Ingredient in Every Democracy!
Denying the freedom of parents to choose the kind of education their children should receive is unjust in a free society. Why is freedom of education so important to the continuation of democracy and pluralism? Why did the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly place parents and their role of deciding what kind of education children should receive prior to that of the state? What are the threats to freedom and democracy from increasing uniformity and control by the state over education? Listen to this distinguished panel of experts discuss these important questions of the need for freedom education in a democratic world!
2. Strategies for Success in Maintaining Home Education Freedom!
Are there common strategies and processes that have been helpful for home educators in realizing freedom and legal recognition for home education? Panelists from numerous countries will discuss strategies and processes that have been effective to help home educators achieve legal recognition through legislative action and by using current laws creatively. Even in countries where home educators have no political influence and current law does not allow for home education, there is hope! Come and listen to success stories from Brazil, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, South Korea, Russia, and Taiwan.
3. Against the Odds – The North American Home Education Success Story
30 years ago many North American home educators experienced similar oppression to that experienced by some European home educators today. Today home education is legal and growing in all 50 United States, and its territories. Home education is legal and growing in all of the Canadian provinces and in Mexico. Are there lessons that the growing global home education movement can learn from the North American experience?
Panelists: Michael Donnelly, Director of International Relations, HSLDA; Chandra Montgomery Nicol, Executive Director, Clonlara School USA; Leigh Bortins, President, Classical Conversations Paul D. Faris, President, HSLDA of Canada; Alberto Solano, El Hogar Educador, Mexico
4. Wising Up after Badman: Learning Lessons from The Badman Review of Home Education in England
The UK, particularly England, has long been considered a haven for home educators; English law barely touches on the question of home education meaning that home educators have enjoyed a lack of restriction envied on an international scale. In 2009 however, a review of home education policy, now known as the Badman Review, called for wide scale and far reaching changes to legislation. Home educators hastened to react to the review and to bring pressure on the government not to act on its recommendations. The planned changes failed to become law before the 2010 change of British government. This talk discusses the Badman Review; why it was called for and in what ways it exposed the fears and feelings of the UK’s legislative body towards home education. The reactions of the home educating community are considered, as well as the credence and effectiveness of their response. Finally Pattison will consider the legal standing of home education in England in the post Badman era and consider what lessons for the future can be drawn from this close shave with the law.
5. Choosing Between Your Homeland and Your Home Education
Sadly, many parents are confronted with the choice between homeschooling in their home land or leaving their country in exile. Understanding the authorities in your area can mean all the difference in retaining custody of your children. At what point is it appropriate to consider going into exile? How can one determine the level of threat against their family? How significant is the threat from social services? Answers to these and more questions will be explored by home educating parents who have been through harrowing experiences with authorities over their choice to home educate. The panel will include speakers who have been involved in helping homeschoolers flee and find refuge in other countries.
6. Media as a Force for Freedom – A Double Edged Sword
The media can be a friend or foe. Understanding how to answer questions and project a positive image is critical for the home education movement, especially in countries where home education is just getting started. There are tremendous resources available for home education, meant to point to positive research and messaging. Staying on point and being culturally tuned is critically important. This workshop will help you as a home educating leader understand the practical aspects of managing media relations. Presenters will include a member of the media as well as homeschooling leaders with experience in using the media to advance the cause of freedom for families to home educate.
Panelists: Dr. Mareile Kirsch, Attorney, Hamburg, Germany; Jürgen Liminski, Journalist; Dagmar Neubronner, Publisher and Home Educating Mother; Michael Donnelly, Director of International Relations, HLSDA
7. Organize for Success—Create a Home Education Organization!
This is a practical workshop on how to establish and sustain a national home education organization. What is the form of the organization? Non profit? What services should you offer? How do you set up your board? These questions and more will be explored by a group of home educators who have experience in creating home education organizations.
8. Giving Persecuted Home Educators a Helping Hand
The plight of home educators in some countries is severe. The threat to families can be overwhelming and the feeling of isolation hard to bear, particularly where the home educating population is still very small. How can home educators in other countries support their persecuted fellow home educators? Sometimes just knowing that there are others out there supporting you is enough. Sometimes more is required. This workshop will equip you as a home education leader to help people in your country get support if they find themselves in trouble. You will also learn how you can help to advance the cause of freedom for families to home educate in other countries.
9. The Court of Law - A Last Resort and How to Best Use It
When home educating families have to go to court they must be defended. But finding an attorney who has experience and sympathy can be difficult. In places where home education is threatened many attorneys are reluctant to advancing arguments needed to win the day. How can the court be used strategically and tactically to defend individual families but also to advance the movement? Is there a place for international courts? What is the status of home education at the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations? What legal arguments and strategies have proven effective around the world? How can you find an attorney who will mount an effective defense? Join our distinguished panel of jurists to explore these and other questions.
Panelists: Andreas Vogt, J.D., attorney for the German Dudek family; and Ruby Harrold Claesson, noted human rights attorney
10. What Happened in Sweden? The Tragedy on Gotland
On June 26, 2009, Dominic Johansson was taken into state custody. He remains there today, more than three years later. The reason given for his taking? Homeschooling. Come and meet Christer and Annie Johansson and their attorney Ruby Harrold Claesson and hear their story in person.
Workshop speakers: Christer and Annie Johansson, parents of Domenic; Ruby Harrold Claesson, noted human rights attorney
**Workshops will be in English with simultaneous translation provided into German for one workshop during each session, to be determined depending on the number of attendees.